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Guilt is a complex emotion with a potentially important social function of stimulating cooperative behaviours towards and from others, but whether the feeling of guilt is associated with a recognisable pattern of nonverbal behaviour is unknown. We examined the production and perception of guilt in two different studies, with a total of 238 participants with various places of origin. Guilt was induced experimentally, eliciting patterns of movement that were associated with both the participants’ self-reported feelings of guilt and judges’ impressions of their guilt. Guilt was most closely associated with frowning and neck touching. While there were differences between self-reported guilt and perception of guilt the findings suggest that there are consistent patterns that could be considered a non-verbal signal of guilt in humans.
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